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Gonorrhoea is a sexually transmitted infection (previously known as the clap) it is caused by a bacterium called Neisseria gonorrheoae or gonococcus. It is passed through sexual activity including intercourse, oral sex, intimate physical contact, sharing vibrators or other sex toys, or from mother to baby during birth.

Gonorrhoea is the second most frequently sexually transmitted infection in the UK and the number of cases are rising. Sexually active men aged 20-24 years and women aged between 16 and 19 are most commonly affected.



Up to half of women who have gonorrhoea do not experience any symptoms. If they do have symptoms then they may notice:

  • A strong, unpleasant smelling discharge from the vagina, which may be green or yellow in colour
  • Pain or tenderness in the lower abdominal area
  • A burning sensation when urinating
  • Irritation or discharge from the anus.

Around 90% of men who have gonorrhoea experience symptoms such as:

  • A white, yellow or green-coloured discharge from the tip of the penis
  • Pain or tenderness caused by inflammation of the testicles or prostate gland
  • Pain or burning sensation when urinating
  • Irritation or discharge from the anus

Symptoms usually appear between one and fourteen days after infection.



Gonorrhoea is treated with a single dose of antibiotics taken orally. Sometimes, you may be given a single dose of antibiotics by injection. Some strains of gonorrhoea are becoming resistant to some antibiotics. If the condition does not clear up after treatment by traditional antibiotics, your doctor may prescribe a stronger variation.

Treatment for gonorrhoea must be given as quickly as possible, as the disease can cause complications such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) if it is left untreated. It is also important that all the patients’ current and recent sexual partners are tested and treated for the disease.


Source Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust

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